A water heater may not be the most glamorous appliance, but it is essential in every home. Each day we take showers, do dishes and wash laundry. None of these activities could be completed without a water heater. Homeowners tend to know too little about the lifespan and maintenance of their water heater.
You’ve invested a great deal in your home and it constantly needs to be maintained. It is better to anticipate and correct current conditions that could turn into future costly catastrophes.
Things to Remember and Options to Consider:
Standard Water Heater
- Hot water heaters have a life expectancy of 8-10 years. Hot water heaters have been the leading cause of water damage claims in the United States. The interior metal corrosion of a water heater will never be seen from the outside of the unit. Simply because, most of the damage is occurring from the inside out. Therefore, predicting when one of these units will go out is next to impossible. This silent, hidden erosion process of the tank itself begins when the unit is installed, and usually penetrates all the way through, and the bottom falls out, somewhere between years 8-10.
- The quality of the water in a hot water heater is not the healthiest, to say the least. Imagine the quality of the water coming in from your water supply line, and then it goes into a water tank that has been building corrosion over the years – then the water must be heated to a temperature level that is set on the heater itself. The tank is designed to keep the water at a set temperature that is always ready for immediate use, however, once the ideal water temperature is reached, the standard water heater tank shuts itself off and begins cooling. An hour or two later, it is reheated again, and the cycle keeps on repeating itself until the hot water is called for when we need to use it. This process continues to occur over and over throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Now, imagine the possibilities of all the waterborne pathogens that live and breed in that tank that we use every day? No wonder we now have more medical issues that never existed before.
Tankless Water Heater – “On Demand Systems”
- Today the tankless units are designed not to store hot water, where waterborne pathogens exist, but begin to heat the water when the hot water is turned on. Not only do we use the fresh water, but we heat only the amount we are using at the time it’s needed. When a fixture is engaged for hat water usage, it takes 30-90 seconds to draw cold water into the tankless system and convert to hot. It stays hot until disengaged. No more breeding ground for bacteria, corrosion, etc. Nothing but clean H2O. And we actually save energy when we are not forced to keep the water hot 24 hours per day.
- There are items you need to know if you are considering a tankless unit: gas line coming into your house may been to be increased in size to go into the tankless unit. If you have other water heaters or gas appliances such as a cooktop or stove, then reducers need to be installed on each of the other systems. This could be an additional plumbing expense.
Pros and cons of a tankless unit include:
- Pros – energy efficient, clean from pathogens, unit is small and can takes only portion of closet space, if system fails there is minimal/no water discharge which reduces damage liability (no overflow)
- Cons – cost-expect $5000 price range, additional plumbing costs related to gas connections, if multiple fixtures are connected to tankless unit and are engaged simultaneously you can get freezing cold water (only high volume fixtures)
High Recovery Tank (Standard)
- A high recovery tank is a 50 gallon tank installed like a standard water heater that will immediately recover one time without delay. It comes with an emergency shut-off sensor in the overflow pan. If water in overflow pan covers sensor, it automatically shuts off the water heater before overflow…stopping leaks. You will know there is a problem when you don’t have hot water.
Your home is your greatest asset and with proper maintenance you can avoid damage and costly repairs.